Single Mom Dating: Teenagers On Board
Admittedly, I’ve made many mistakes while dating as single mother. Most of them, however, were to protect my son. What do I mean by that? Well, in my last relationship, for example, I waited approximately eight months before introducing him to my son; that relationship lasted almost five years. Another time, I waited a year before introducing him to my son; that relationship lasted a year and some change. Needless to say, though I took precautions to ensure that these men were worthy of meeting my son, the relationships didn’t last anyway.
This time, however, I took a different approach.
Doing what I normally do, I decided not to introduce my son to my boyfriend, especially because now he’s a teenager and understands more about relationships than he did when he was younger. Well, that didn’t sit well with my son–and, it was something that I didn’t even consider. When he realized that I was talking to gentleman on the phone and thought that it might be getting serious, he asked to participate in the dating process–wow! His exact words, “Are going to wait eight months to tell me about him?”
Sometimes, as single mothers, we think we’re doing the right thing–and, we could be totally wrong. I guess, in this case, I was totally wrong. My son wanted to participate in the relationship–on some level. He wanted to feel included and valued. And, because he’s a teenager, starting to enter the dating scene himself, he also wanted to see how I, as his mother, approached dating.
This was definitely a teaching moment– for us both.
Things I’ve learned:
1) You can’t protect your children from every hurt–especially when other people are involved.
While I still believe that every man that walks into a woman’s life is not worthy of meeting the child(ren), I now believe that it’s not that cut and dry. It actually depends a lot on the child and his/her age and the circumstance. If you’ve made every effort to ensure that the man in your life is a good fit for you and your child(ren), then you’ve done your job. Don’t blame yourself if the relationship ends up not working out, after you introduce him to your child. After all, you can only control you, not the other person. Do watch how you react to the breakup, however, because your child will learn how to deal with relationships and breakups from watching you. Be honest and keep it moving.
2) Honesty is the best policy. Open communications goes a long way.
Letting my son participate in the relationship – on some levels – and allowing him to see how a healthy, loving relationship evolves by being open and honest with him has helped him as he tries to navigate the high school dating scene. For instance, I let my son know early in the relationship that my boyfriend and I (we’re both Christians) had decided not to have pre-marital sex. At first, he was like, “I don’t want to hear that.” Now, however, he sees how my BF treats me, and how I positively love, respect and adore him for it, and he’s got a respect for my BF that he’s never had for the other men I have dated. In fact, he likes a girl and said he wants to treat her like my boyfriend treats me, including–and especially–the not having sex part. Yes, being open and honest can be a very good thing, as you can see.
3) Giving equal time to everyone involved.
When the relationship is new, it’s easy to get caught up in the newness of it all and lose sight of what’s most important–your child(ren). Remember to spend just as much time with your child(ren) pre-relationship as you do now that you’re in one. If not, your child will definitely feel the difference and it could result in misplaced feelings of resentment and jealousy that could negatively impact the relationship. My son started displaying some signs of jealousy, so I discussed it with him and got down to the bottom of it: he felt like I wasn’t spending the same amount of time that I was before I was dating. Now, I make sure that we have our own bonding time, whenever he needs it.
4) Establish the rules upfront
Both the child(ren) and the man in your life need to know what to expect out of this relationship. Your child(ren) need to now exactly how much time you will spend with him and how that will impact their day-to-day lives. Your man will need to understand how he fits into the equation and that your child(ren) come first. In my case, my bf is also a single father–and a loving, nurturing one at that. Therefore, we established early on that the kids come first. If one of our children need time, we put them first. Period. This has really helped our relationship and our relationship with our kids. I also think it helps the children see that they are most important in our lives.
I hope you find these tips useful. If you have some additional insights, I would love to hear from you.
Peace, love and blessings,
Ms. No Single Mama Drama